COLUMN: ‘We should all respect and support the police’ says Yvette Cooper MP

Yvette Cooper MP.
Yvette Cooper MP.

“West Yorkshire police officers should be out on our streets keeping us safe instead of having their time wasted by Boris Johnson in a party political stunt,” writes Yvette Cooper.

Dozens of police trainees and officers were forced to stand around for hours last week waiting for the Prime Minister to arrive and then providing the backdrop for his party political speech.

One even came close to fainting, she’d been standing there so long - but Boris Johnson just ignored her.

It isn’t fair on the police to treat them like this, and it certainly isn’t fair on our communities. The police are supposed to be impartial. Rightly they have clear rules about not getting involved in politics because they have to help all of us, whatever our views.

The West Yorkshire Chief Constable wasn’t told it would be a party political speech. Nor were the officers. Boris Johnson just used them for political games.

Those trainees and officers should have been getting on with their job. Violent crime has gone up by a shocking 33 per cent in Wakefield District because this Government has so heavily cut back our police and crime prevention.

They’ve cut over 30,000 officers, specials and PCSOs across the country and we’ve lost half our neighbourhood police in the Five Towns. I’m calling for us to get those neighbourhood police back. So it’s not good enough for Boris Johnson to only offer us some of those police, whilst wasting the time of the officers and trainees we’ve got. Everyone should respect and support our police and that includes the Prime Minister.

For the last 10 days I’ve been getting on with work here in the Five Towns - speaking at the consultation meeting on why Pontefract Maternity Unit must stay open, talking to parents and teachers about the need for more investment in Special Educational Needs, meeting trade unions in Kellingley Club, enjoying the Normanton Gala, talking to commuters about nightmare train delays, and holding street surgeries.

But while I will always work hard for our towns, I’m still concerned that the Government has cancelled Parliament when there is so much national work to do.

If Parliament had been sitting last week, I would have challenged Ministers about cuts that are still hitting our towns. And I would have asked the Prime Minister practical questions on whether customs, ports and traders are ready to cope with No Deal.

The Government’s own report Operation Yellowhammer says they aren’t ready, and it warns that No Deal means long delays at ports, disruption to medicines, rising food prices, and possible fuel shortages. It even says that those on the lowest income will be the worst affected by No Deal.

That’s not fair on Yorkshire towns. It’s why I called on the Government from the start to get a proper deal on customs and workers rights which supports Yorkshire manufacturing, and not end up with a chaotic No Deal that hits our manufacturing towns hardest.

But I worry the Government is going in the wrong direction and that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage want No Deal with Europe because they want to force us into a bad trade deal with Trump’s America instead.

We need common sense not chaos - and that means the Prime Minister should be working hard to sort things out.